Toyota Unveils New Smaller Version Of Prius

By Salon Staff

Published January 10, 2012 5:00PM (EST)

DETROIT (AP) — Toyota on Tuesday unveiled the Prius c, a new smaller and more affordable version of its popular hybrid, aimed at young, city-dwelling buyers.

The c, which stands for city, is set to go on sale in March and will be smaller, lighter and more nimble than previous versions. The subcompact hatchback also will also be priced under $19,000, more than $4,000 less than the starting price of the current version of the traditional Prius.

Jim Lentz, Toyota's top U.S. sales executive, told reporters at the North American International Auto Show press days in Detroit that the c is a gateway vehicle and a key part of its Prius strategy. It is designed to draw in young buyers who may have previously thought that a hybrid was out of their price range.

Here are the details of the car:

POWER: A 1.5-liter in-line, four-cylinder gasoline engine that produces 73 horsepower and 82 pound-feet of torque. Meanwhile, a 44-volt nickel-metal hydride battery pack is under the rear passenger seat, near the center of the vehicle. Combined, the engine and battery produce 99 horsepower.

SIZE: The c's is 19.1 inches shorter than the traditional Prius and 542 pounds lighter.

MILEAGE: It's expected to get 53 mpg in the city and 46 mpg on the highway, for a combined rating of 50 mpg, making it one of the world's most fuel-efficient hybrids without a plug, Toyota said.

LOOKS: The c will be available in four trim levels. Its standard features will include automatic climate control, tilt-telescopic steering wheel with audio, climate, information display and Bluetooth controls, along with remote keyless entry with illuminated entry.

PRICING: Below $19,000.

Salon Staff

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